In the interest of being transparent and honest I want to start this review by saying it is possibly going to be the shortest one I’ve ever done and also possibly the shortest on TiX. The reasons for this aren’t because I’m lazy or just rushing, it’s for the fact that Uncanny Valley is best played when you know as little as possible about the game. That comes direct from the developers, not me. I will mainly give you an idea of what the game is about and what it’s like to play, We’re not in the business of spoilers here at TiX so I would probably recommend you don’t watch the below video either.
Developers Cowardly Creations have tried to create a well rounded, spooky experience for the player and to be honest they’ve done an average job of it. You play as a newly recruited security guard taking it in turns with a rather large colleague to watch over the facility. Initially you get a spend your shift exploring the building and snooping at emails etc, but only for 7 minutes at a time. Once your shift is over you can either continue to explore or go home, if you stay you will inevitably collapse with exhaustion forcing you to return to your bed. In between the sleep and shifts there are some largely unexplained nightmare sections that seem to be only there to give your heart rate a bit of a jump, I’ll say no more on that.
The atmosphere is set by the tones of the soundtrack, which at times I think is a nod to some late 80’s horror films, and that’s not a bad thing. Things do change however once you’re up against what I will describe as, the things that can hurt you. If you are injured in anyway this will have a direct effect on your chances of progressing for example, if you break your leg then your movement speed will suffer. If you break your arm you might aswell start all over again because you won’t be able to move heavy objects and in some cases progress. There are multiple endings to the game and right at the start it says multiple play through’s are recommended. I can’t help but think this is a ploy to replay what is in fact a short game at around 2 hours in total.
The pixelated graphics don’t hinder you much but sometimes it’s hard to make out what an object actually is, if it wasn’t for items being highlighted when you’re close it would be easy to walk straight past them. I do feel however that Uncanny Valley would have benefited from being a episodic adventure, unraveling the mysteries as you go. For now however it looks as though we got all of what was on offer. It does seem that often you end up in a place with no explanantion or meaning and to add to the confusion no explanation to what is actually happening. That being said Uncanny Valley is definitely worth at least one play through just to experience a retro, atmospheric, 2 hour sink hole. Overall it’s fair to say not a bad effort from Cowardly Creation but I do feel that a few bad experiences from other players and limited positive reviews could spell the end of Uncanny Valley, which is a shame.
I will leave this review with a literal translation as to what Uncanny Valley actually means:
“used in reference to the phenomenon whereby a computer-generated figure or humanoid robot bearing a near-identical resemblance to a human being arouses a sense of unease or revulsion in the person viewing it.”
Overall I quite liked the simplicity of the game. The lack of spoilers out there also added to the mystery of what Uncanny Valley is about. To put it bluntly sometimes less is more but in the case of Uncanny Valley less wasn’t enough. Worth a playthrough but not multiple attempts (wait for the price to drop too).